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Lost Cabin Fire remains at 5 acres, crews likely to work through weekend

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 5:44 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The Forest Service says early spring wildfires are common with dry conditions, until spring showers come through the Hills.

Friday, that held true, as the Lost Cabin Fire was reported Thursday night.

Crews have been hard at work in the Black Elk Wilderness Area trying to put out the fire, which has burned five acres so far.

As of Friday afternoon, five firefighters had trekked out with 40 pounds of gear, through muddy trails, in an effort to fend off the flames.

Rob Hoelscher, District Ranger of the Hell Canyon Ranger District, says “it’s a couple mile hike in. They were hauling in the gear they thought they might need. Most of the resources that are coming are local resources -- fire packs with their fire shelters, and then they carried chainsaws and fuel.”

He says there will likely end up being 15 or so firefighters making their way to the burning area on the border of the Black Elk Wilderness, where a good half of the fire is caught up in rocks, and can’t spread.

“We don’t have any control line concern there,” Hoelscher says, “but they’re working on the other 50-percent of the fire. Which, is burning in heavy down dead timber. Because of the beetle mortality up in the wilderness area there’s a lot of dead and downed trees, trunks and branches.”

Which, they’re digging around to create a barrier between what’s burning and what could be ignited, but that’s not all the help they’re getting, as Hoelscher says, “we should have three helicopters doing bucket work coming from the South Dakota National Guard, and then our third ship that’s coming is coming from Colorado.”

Nearby lakes, however, are frozen. So, the helicopters can’t use them for water resources.

“We do have access to water in the area,” Hoelscher says, “but that would have to come out fire hydrants and put into a portable tank, and we’re not looking to use portable tanks at this time.” Instead, they’re headed quite a ways away, “and we’re going to try to dip water out of Sheridan Lake.”

While crews are working, police are investigating the cause, because Hoelscher says “[he] can’t think of a natural ignition source that we’ve had recently. We haven’t had any lightning. So, we have our law enforcement up there taking a look at the area where the fire started and seeing if they can determine the actual cause.”

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